HOUSTON – Easter Sunday is traditionally one of the most well-attended services at any church, but now, just days before the Christian holiday, many churches are struggling. It has been almost three weeks since coronavirus concerns squashed most in-person services. The shutdown is impacting churches and charities that rely on donations.
“I don’t know about you, but this truly has been what I would call a trying season,” Pastor Erick Hoskin said in a virtual service to the congregation of Word of God Christian Fellowship Church in Cypress.
Instead of filing in to the sanctuary every Sunday, Hoskin is asking his 600 members to log on.
Instead of handshakes and hugs, it’s all streaming and social distancing. And what you can’t do so far apart is pass the offering plate.
“They were just used to writing that check, or putting that cash in the envelope as the collection plate went by,” Hoskin explained.
He said even though parishioners can tithe by text or give online, some don’t know how. Others have lost their jobs and simply can’t.
“Just taking March, this time last year, we’ve seen about a 20% reduction in tithes and offerings,” said Hoskin.
Charities also hurting
“It’s a double-edged sword for us because we’ve seen an increase in our expenses at the same time we’ve had a decrease in our donations,” explained Anna Coffeey, the CEO for The Women’s Home.
The charity that helps homeless women and families with substance abuse and mental health issues can’t just close. They are housing more than 200 women and families on two separate campuses.
The Cottage Shop, a thrift store that brings in more than $50,000 a month to help support the charity, is closed.
“Even though we don’t really know where the money’s coming from, we have to keep our employees employed and keep helping our clients because it’s the right thing to do” Coffey said.
How you can help
Most churches and charities will accept your donations online.
The Women’s Home has an Amazon Wishlist filled with items they need for clients but can’t afford. If you want to help, you can purchase something from the list and it will be sent to the The Women’s Home.